CONFLICT COMES HOME
There are a few things that can be said about Ubisoft’s Far Cry series; the gun-play is some of the most fluid and satisfying on the market since Far Cry 3 in 2012, and the series has been a globe hopper since the first release in 2004. We’ve seen mercenary infested archipelagos in the South Pacific twice, blood diamond conflicts in Africa. We’ve seen a tyrannical regime in the mountains of eastern Asia that would make Kim Jong Un blush, and even an outing into an 80’s inspired satire on the films of the era.
With Far Cry 5, we’re going to what at first glance sounded like the least likely setting for a title in the series; Hope County, Montana. Small town hospitality, beautiful mountains, prosperous farm fields. Fishing, hunting, iced tea and local county fairs. Hope County Montana, is a slice of the American Dream. Or it would be, if a shadow hadn’t fallen over the region turning the dream into an American nightmare.
OF GOD AND GUNS
The plot of Far Cry 5 has also taken a very distinct turn. Rather than dealing with mercenaries and career soldiers in a far off land, you’re dealing with a militant religious cult on US soil that goes by the name the Project at Eden’s Gate (or Peggies as the slang term for their acronym, PEG). Lead by Joseph Seed, “The Father” along with his lieutenants, Eden’s Gate has slowly grown from a small, isolationist cult to a very real threat to the residents of Hope County. Upon video documentation of a kidnapping and torture, it’s finally time to do something. The game begins with a US Marshal, the county sheriff, and his team of deputies moving to serve an arrest warrant on Joseph Seed himself. The Marshal isn’t a local, and is extremely gung ho about arresting Seed. Sheriff Whitehorse, an aging man one year past when he should’ve retired, is very wary of Seed and his cult, as are two of the deputies. Then there is the silent protagonist, the Rookie; that’d be the player. The attempt to make an arrest not only goes poorly, but is believed by the cult to be the first sign of The Collapse; an apocalyptic event that will damn the world to a fiery end except those who are part of the Project at Eden’s Gate. Joseph Seed declares for the cult to enact The Reaping; a violent siege of Hope County. If you thought the attempt to deal with David Koresh at the Branch Davidian compound in Waco Texas went horribly wrong, then I’d say this takes the cake on underestimating the opposition.
Outnumbered, outgunned, and somehow unable to contact the outside world (despite the age of cellphone communication, and access to air vehicles) it’s up to the Rookie, along with the people of Hope County, to push back against the Eden’s Gate militia that has a staggeringly high number to their ranks.
Story wise, I feel Far Cry 5 is a mixed bag. The villains are some of the best constructed and acted in the series yet, displaying different aspects that can show the dark, haunting side of religious faith masquerading as paths to redemption. It shows the very real danger that a silver tongue can be in the mouths of those who would do harm, not just those who would do good. These encounters with the villains are some of the most gripping moments in the game, and really flesh out the story beyond the base gameplay that is just waging a turf war against the cult.
Allies however, do not have the same depth to them. There are a few standouts, Nick a local pilot and Jerome, a pastor in Fall’s End, as well as Sheriff Whitehorse are some interesting folks to have on your side. But many allies suffer from either being too bland, or too over the top (Sorry Hurk, I’ve been putting up with you for several Far Cry games now and I’ve had enough of seeing your face).
Best map in the series so far, great villains, fluid gunplay, new additions add more luster to the game
Ally characters are mostly either too bland or too over the top, core gameplay elements are starting to become tired and fatigued after so many years with little changes